FLAT LIQUID CRYSTAL DIFFRACTIVE LENSES WITH VARIABLE FOCUS AND MAGNIFICATION
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoEmbargo: Release after 7/5/2011
AbstractNon-mechanical variable lenses are important for creating compact imaging devices. Various methods employing dielectrically actuated lenses, membrane lenses, and liquid crystal lenses were previously proposed [1-4]. In This dissertation the design, fabrication, and characterization of innovative flat tunable-focus liquid crystal diffractive lenses (LCDL) are presented. LCDL employ binary Fresnel zone electrodes fabricated on Indium-Tin-Oxide using conventional micro-photolithography. The light phase can be adjusted by varying the effective refractive index of a nematic liquid crystal sandwiched between the electrodes and a reference substrate. Using a proper voltage distribution across various electrodes the focal length can be changed between several discrete values. Electrodes are shunted such that the correct phase retardation step sequence is achieved. If the number of 2πzone boundaries is increased by a factor of m the focal length is changed from f to f/m based on the digitized Fresnel zone equation: f = rm²/2mλ, where r(m) is mth zone radius, and λ is the wavelength. The chromatic aberration of the diffractive lens is addressed and corrected by adding a variable fluidic lens. These LCDL operate at very low voltage levels (±2.5V ac input), exhibit fast switching times (20-150 ms), can have large apertures (>10 mm), and small form factor, and are robust and insensitive to vibrations, gravity, and capillary effects that limit membrane and dielectrically actuated lenses. Several tests were performed on the LCDL including diffraction efficiency measurement, switching dynamics, and hybrid imaging with a refractive lens. Negative focal lengths are achieved by adjusting the voltages across electrodes. Using these lenses in combination, magnification can be changed and zoom lenses can be formed. These characteristics make LCDL a good candidate for a variety of applications including auto-focus and zoom lenses in compact imaging devices such as camera phones. A business plan centered on this technology was developed as part of the requirements for the minor in entrepreneurship from the Eller College of Management. An industrial analysis is presented in this study that involves product development, marketing, and financial analyses (Appendix I).
Degree ProgramGraduate College